By Sara Rivka Davidson

Reach for the Moon

  |  Theater & Performances  

In a small cozy theater in Chelsea that holds about 125 people, the TADA! Theater Company puts on crowd pleasing family shows starring children 8-18 years old. Their most current production, “The Little Moon Theater”, tells the story of a traveling theater group and a fairy godmother named Penelope, who is up for retirement, but needs to grant one more wish before she can do so. The Little Moon Theater group travels from town to town, performing its plays for the townspeople, and everywhere they go they encounter someone in need. First there is a girl who isn’t accepted by her family because she wears different colored socks; a boy who has no friends because people are afraid of his pet snake; and a puppy who is in love with the moon. The Little Moon actors put on plays for these people, using them as stars to gain acceptance from townspeople. Problems occur when Penelope shows up, ready to help the same people and grant their wishes, only after the actors have. The audience members of both children and adults watched with smiling faces as the children performed in their bright costumes. Each song had a lesson to it, teaching people about love and acceptance. It was an upbeat show, with fun jokes and silly antics from the characters — especially the fairy Godmother, who was down on her luck with wish granting and bad flying vision. The music was fun and upbeat, a live band accompanying the music. The sets were bright and colorful, as were the costumes. The actors, all of different ages and races, were energetic and excited as they performed. And, every few minutes you could hear the giggles and squeals of delight from children and parents. There are two more productions coming up from TADA! First is “Heroes: A Musical Adventure”, which runs April 25-May 18. It is about six heroes who go on a journey, searching for the sun after it disappears, and their quest to bring it back. Using song, movement, and words, it is a tale about heroism and friendship. Running July 11-July 31, is a new twist to the classic Alice in Wonderland, “The Trials of Alice in Wonderland”. Alice is on trial, and Tweedledee or Tweedledum must defend her, but they can’t decide which one will! All of the favorite Alice in Wonderland characters will be there, including the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and White Rabbit. Coming this spring is the “Spring Staged Reading Series”. Playwrights and actors read their pieces for an audience, with no costumes, sets or props. The emphasis is on the text and the message it sends. Following each performance, there is a discussion about the play with the playwright and performers. TADA! also offers several other wonderful programs. They can come to your school or organization and teach the theater arts to children and teachers alike, fostering growth, creativity, and teamwork. Kids and teens can also take part in drama or musical theater classes, for a few weeks, or just one week, as young as pre-school and up through middle school. There is an annual playwriting contest for budding young writers. And, kids can audition for a TADA! show, even if they have no prior experience. Alumni from TADA! productions include Ricki Lake, so you never know.

Info: Where: 15 West 28th Street, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue; the performing space is on the second floor. When: Performances are Fridays, at 7 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, at 2pm and 4 pm How much: $15 adults, $7 children 15 and under. For more info: (212) 252-1619;